From award-winning actor, playwright, and activist Donald Molosi comes a call for a revolution in the way history is taught in schools across Africa. On February 28, 2019, Molosi’s new pan-African manifesto Dear Upright African will be launched in New York City. That begins its year-long tour of the world’s biggest cities on every continent. Molosi’s new book is already listed by literary journals as one of the most anticipated books of 2019.
In April 2019 Molosi will launch the Dear Upright African book in Berlin, Germany at the prestigious African Book Festival of Berlin. Molosi’s book is factual, confident and bold and it is based on his viral 2017 TED talk by the same name where he calls for African schools to start teaching African history. “I wanted to take this book to Berlin, the same city 135 years ago Africa was cut up like a cake among European powers to own. I go to Berlin as one but I stand as my ancestors who never had the chance to confront the city that cemented the brutal European scramble for our resources. My generation of Africans has lost patience with the destructive European curriculum still taught in our African schools. My being in Berlin on the 135 anniversary of the demarcation of Africa to launch this manifesto is purposeful and symbolic and shows that Africans have the mouth with which to tell Europe how her neocolonial presence in Africa is tragic for Africans. I am also addressing Africans in the diaspora to let them know that we need their efforts also for African classrooms in Africa to finally teach African history.”
In the book Dear Upright African, Molosi writes in first person and an excerpt of the book online states that, "Upright African, we need a revolution in education to take our history back into our hands, and to perform it through our eyes for humanity and ourselves. Without question, our African histories are under siege by those who would rather we believed that Africa has no history and that colonialism is over."
When it was first presented as a 2017 TED talk, Dear Upright African was presented in 2017 the talk created a lot of conversation. In it, Molosi proposed that African schools should teach African history to which a certain teacher at Maru a Pula School proceeded to attack and insult Molosi online. Although Molosi himself never responded to the attack, many Batswana labelled the attack against Molosi as a racist one as there was nothing wrong with his suggestion. Molosi says of the time, “I did not respond to her specifically because I don’t negotiate my worth as a proud African. I know my African people are worthy of a rightful place and I am not going to negotiate that. Opening up national dialogue about our education crisis does not mean that I have to respond to every racist that has something to say about Botswana history and its perceived worthlessness because it has Black heroes.”
In the new book, Dear Upright African, Molosi says, “I expanded the TED talk. I added a lot of autobiographical material because I attended all my schooling until high school in Africa where I was barred from African history through the eyes of Africans. In this manifesto, I relate how I felt being beaten by teachers in government school in Mahalapye, how I felt in private school in Gaborone where Blackness was considered uncool. The book is much more than the TED talk. It is a fiery and unapologetic manifesto told through personal stories to expose the danger of the African classroom and how we can fix that. I am boldly and unapologetically African and my ancestors walk with me.”
The book boasts a glowing foreword by the legendary Tsitsi Dangarembga, author of Nervous Conditions one of the most important writers to ever come out of Africa. In her remarks about Molosi’s work, Dangarembga says that, “Palpably outraged, Molosi reminds us - sharing vivid examples - of how the metaphysical and physical engagement of empire with the African continent formed a carefully orchestrated strategy whose end result was to inflict large numbers of Africans, including African elites, with a chronic, debilitating self-hatred. Drawing form his extensive reading on the subject, Molosi offers practical remedies for the devastating crisis he chronicles.”
In addition, Kenyan literary superstar Binyavanga Wainaina whom TIME Magazine crowned one of the most influential 100 people in the world says of Dear Upright African, “In this manifesto, Donald Molosi shows us what a decolonized Africa would look like. This matter is vital for people in school today. It is this sort of activism that our continent needs now.”
The book will be published in New York, London and South Africa. It will also be launched across the world’s biggest cities starting with New York, Berlin and London. “Of course the big end to this 2019 will be in African cities. I am ready to give my followers all over the world a bolder Donald Molosi who speaks even more loudly about things that matter. I hold nothing back in this book because the time for that is over for me as a brand,” Molosi says of his new book.